Yoga is an ancient and complete humanistic spiritual science which evolved with the Saraswati, Kaveri, Narmada, Godawari and Gangetic civilizations in India, through thousands of years of study and inner experience. Today people practice yoga for bodily health, mental concentration, tranquillity and spiritual experience. There are a variety of yogic paths to suit different human needs and temperaments all of which assist in the liberation of human potential and creativity. Understandably, many of the paths interact and flow into each other and, individually or combined, they are tools designed to help us become caring and considerate, loving and compassionate human beings.
Traditionally the word yoga is defined as the union or integration of individual with universal consciousness. On a practical level, it is a way to balance and harmonise the body, mind and emotions. This is achieved by practising asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices), mudra and bandha (psycho-physiological energy release techniques), shatkarma (internal cleansing practices) and a wide variety of meditation techniques. Through yoga the limitations of life can be transcended; greater skills and efficiency in action can be attained which results in the expression of higher levels of creativity and positivity in life.
Yoga is a theme which was deeply studied and practised by past civilizations. As the world changed, the yogic tradition was maintained in India by seers and sannyasins who had dedicated their lives to preserve the ancient wisdom for posterity. Therefore the teaching of yoga now emanates from sannyasins and ashrams, and encourages master/aspirant (guru/disciple) relationship to experience the spirit of yoga.